Lourdes Garcia

Apartment shops pay well, but is it worth the pay?

In the quest for new assignments, shoppers are often attracted to the higher paying shops. In my experience, that list would include apartment mystery shops. These assignments require you to visit apartment communities and pose as a potential renter. This is something that most adults have some experience with, so it seems like an easy task. But an experienced shopper knows that the easiest tasks don’t pay well and tasks that do pay well make you work hard for the money.

I know of a handful of mystery shopping companies that offer apartment shops.  The assignments offered may be telephone shops (recorded and not recorded), telephone and visit shops, and video shops. I have seen these shops pay as much as $40 to $50 and usually have bonuses that will include another $25 to $60 making them pay as much as $110. If you are willing to use video equipment such as a button cam to complete your assignment, they may pay you extra. I am aware of one mystery shopping company that will lend you video equipment so that you can use it for the assignment and will offer free training.

These shops usually offer bonuses because there are not enough shoppers that are interested in them or able to complete them. They demand a lot of detail and the report is lengthy. Personally, it may take me an hour to complete an apartment shop report including the time necessary for uploading documents such as business cards, floor plans and general information or marketing materials about the apartment community that a prospective tenant would be given or collect during a tour. It will also ask information about parking, maintenance, descriptions of décor and staff and a list of the amenities. It will be helpful to take detailed notes about the agent’s response to questions about safety and fair housing.  As with all shopping assignments, following the guidelines is top priority.

When choosing these shops, there is often a choice between shops that have a targeted agent or any agent to visit at the location. It is almost always required to complete a required call before the visit. It gives the agent an opportunity to collect information about callers, make an appointment or provide general information. Sometimes these calls are recorded, but either way the information will be covered in the report. In cases where there is a targeted agent, it may be challenging to reach your desired target. The agent may not be available because they are meeting with other prospective tenants, or the office has part-time hours. This task alone makes it difficult to complete these shops because if the target is not available by telephone, then you cannot make the appointment and won’t finish the shop.

I recall an experience where I was trying to reach a specific target by telephone. It is customary to make several attempts to reach the agent. I called the office every 2 hours or so for 3 days during regular business hours. I was trying to reach an agent named Dwayne, but since the guidelines stated that I was unable to ask for the agent by name, I had to make many calls hoping that Dwayne would answer the phone. Dwayne never answered the call. After several days, the scheduler gave me permission to ask for the agent by name. It turns out that the name I was given was incorrect. I assumed that Dwayne was a man because it is commonly a man’s name, but it was actually misspelled, and I was seeking a female agent with a similarly spelled name. An honest mistake, but this may have deterred the average shopper. I could have asked to be removed from the assignment because it seemed like it was going nowhere. But I decided to complete the shop even though I spent almost a week working on it. Most shops after all, don’t take days to complete.  It is recommended that you begin the calls early in the day to give yourself the most amount of time to reach the agent and to keep a log so as to keep track of your calls and the people that you have spoken with. When dealing with a recorded call situation, the new call will replace the last one made. If you do not reach the agent you are trying to reach, you can ask for the rental office’s address or what the office hours are and then try to call again later.

Despite this experience, I do lots of apartment shops and I often have to travel a little further. It is worth it if you can find assignments with bonuses or pair them with a few others while you are in the same area and make the most of your time and gas mileage. There are only a few companies that offer these shops so if you can do them, give it a try.

4 Companies With Apartment Shops:

Your Comments:

  1. Sandra Jayne Eberling says:

    Great idea

  2. Wallace Dunn says:

    Ellis fortunately has finally moved into the computer world. They used to have paper forms to fill out, asking for 5-6 sentences, and give you enough room for MAYBE one sentence. I quit shopping for them because the form was so stupid.

    Yes, the pay is higher, but the forms are usually significantly more detailed than the average shop.

    I never do one without the “end of month” bonus. Just not worth the time and hassle.